The beauty marketplace is crowded with brands of all sizes, every one hoping to be the next big thing. A brand’s success depends on any number of factors, not the least of which are packaging, ingredients, efficacy, and uniqueness of the products. But in this crowded, noisy marketplace, small brands struggle to obtain exposure. Here are ten new (or new to me) brands that I think are worth a long hard look.
Lubricity Labs ($170 for the box set, which includes the 2-step treatment and shampoo and conditioner)
For those of you who grapple with frizzy hair, listen up. Leaping Bunny-certified Lubricity Labs is an at-home hair-taming system that uses healthy ingredients, such as quinoa protein, aloe vera, and coconut oil, rather than damaging chemicals like those found in many other de-frizzing or straightening treatments.
Lubricity Labs was created by a Baton Rouge-based biochemist, Dr. Boyce Clark, whose daughter had hard-to-manage hair. The system includes a two-step process, and a shampoo and conditioner for maintenance. After treating my own hair, I saw an immediate improvement in the quality of my curls, and my hair is much less prone to frizz no matter the weather.
This collection of green beauty products is based on a unique combination of Ayurvedic remedies and scientific research. There are five products in the line: a face serum, a face cream, a hair oil, an eye cream, and a body oil. Soon to launch is a facial cleansing oil.
To create the line, founder Lisa Mattam, a former pharmaceutical executive in Canada, partnered with Canadian scientists as well as Ayurvedic doctors in Lisa’s family home of Kerala, which is India’s center for Ayurvedic study. The products contain Ayurvedic oils, like coconut, moringa, and amla, as well as more modern ingredients, like hyaluronic acid. Breathe deeply as you apply these products—they smell divine.
Cupid & Psyche Beauty ($23)
This new line of luxury lipsticks was created by beauty and fashion photographer Tracy Toler-Phillips. The curated range of beautiful colors were designed to be “camera-ready,” perfect for our selfie society, and for a spring pick-me-up! Handmade in small batches, the beeswax-free lipsticks are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and soothing, with shea butter, plant-based oils and waxes, and mineral-based pigments. A percentage of all profits are donated to non-profits that are dedicated to saving bees and animals, including the Pollinator Partnership and Humane Society International.
Dear Dahlia ($29 and up)
Whether you are a K-beauty enthusiast or simply a beauty lover, Dear Dahlia, which is formulated with natural and vegan ingredients, is a makeup line worth looking at. The collection was inspired by the story of (Napoleon’s wife) Empress Josephine’s love of dahlias. The white marble-esque packaging is distinctive and elegant and the range features lipsticks, cushion foundations, and duo compacts with shadows or multi-balms. My favorite is the multi-balm duo in Peach Champagne; the perfect creamy pick-me-up for the lips and cheeks. If you’re looking for a unique gift, check out their gorgeous gift sets.
Vitabrid C¹² ($8 and up)
Another notable K-beauty brand, Vitabrid C¹², is centered upon delivering the benefits of vitamin C in innovative ways, like mixing vitamin C with zinc, which allows it to remain potent while it penetrates the skin or scalp in a span of 12 hours. The products range from an anti-hair-loss treatment to a sheet masque. One of my favorites is an anti-blemish powder that you mix with an ampoule, which made quick work of an angry facial hive that resulted from trying too many skincare products (occupational hazard!).
FRÉ Skincare ($35 and up)
This cruelty-free, vegan skincare range is designed specifically for women who work out. The products contain Argania Active Complex©, a proprietary blend of Argan stem cells, Argan leaf extract, and Argan oil, and are clinically proven to effectively combat the damage that exercise and sweat can cause, including breakouts and the development of fine lines and dark spots. The 3-step system, which includes a water-resistant face moisturizer with SPF 30, an exfoliating facial cleanser, and an anti-aging serum, comes in portable sizes in a chic canvas drawstring bag, perfect for the gym or fitness studio. The products can also be purchased individually.
Cotarde ($31 and up – trial sizes available for $3)
Cotarde’s natural, unisex, and TSA-approved products cater to consumers with a jet-set lifestyle. I fell in love with their website, which provides advice for caring for your skin on-the-go, and their stylish, whimsical packaging. Imagine my relief when I discovered that the products were equally as fabulous. The line consists of Daydream Mousse day cream and Face With a View concentrated night cream, both of which are highly nourishing, perfect for skin that has been subjected to the rigors of air travel.
The cruelty-free products are free from synthetic fragrance and color as well as parabens, phthalates, sulphates, and silicones.
AveSeena ($76 and up)
This luxurious skincare line was developed by immunologist Dr. Ebru Karpuzoglu. Her approach was to combine scientific advancements with immune wellness, and the products are EWG verified (rated 1, which is the lowest hazard rating). The line consists of a cream, a serum, and a mask that are 100% nature derived, cruelty free, dermatologist tested & approved, and free of synthetic fragrance. I tried the Ageless Perfection Cream and it feels—and smells—heavenly, giving my skin a glow even in dry winter weather.
No B.S. ($25 and up)
First of all, how can you not love a brand named No B.S. that features a bull next to a big X on their packaging? This results-oriented, plant-based skincare line may look great on the outside, but it’s equally so on the inside with ingredients like vitamins C & E, Retinol, hyaluronic acid, pomegranate, and rosehips. The products, which range from a Retinol Night Cream to Hydrating Body Moisturizer, don’t contain a wide variety of what the brand describes as “bad stuff,” like parabens, artificial synthetic fragrances, and sulfates. The products feel and smell wonderful.
Mabrook & Co. ($6 and up)
Mabrook & Co. offers a range of natural deodorants as well as a dry shampoo with silk amino acids and bamboo leaf extract. Their products are handcrafted in small batches and the brand is Beauty by Bunnies and Leaping Bunnies approved. Their products are free of aluminum, petroleum, silicones, and many other ingredients the brand deems harmful. And yes, the deodorant really works! Mabrook & Co. is socially responsible as well, with a portion of sales donated to Women for Women International.
While we’re on the subject, what new brands have caught your attention?